Tesla Model S Audio Installation Amp Mount and Fibreglass Sub Enclosure

I took advantage of the CV19 shutdown to finally built a fibreglass subwoofer enclosure for my Tesla Model S. I probably could have found the time during a normal weekend, but the process does involve at least half a day of the initial fibreglass work to cure in the vehicle. It wasn’t until the shutdown that my family and I were not going to drive it somewhere during the weekend. Here is the first post in this series that provides the overall detail of the project.

The new enclosure locates the sub in the rear left in the wheel well. It is similar to the enclosure as a part of the NVX Model S kit or the interesting Audio Design stacked-wood enclosure. But neither of these are readily available in Australia. Even though I have built dozens of MDF subwoofer enclosures over the years I had only used resin once and that was to make some door pods (fabric over rings mounted to a shaped board) this was the first time making a fibreglass enclosure in a vehicle.

The area is taped up with normal masking tape.

The first step involve a time consuming process of taping up the space where the enclosure would sit so I could lay the fibreglass in place. After all the taping as above I used the plastic wrapping from a recent Ikea purchase to cover most of the rear hatch area in plastic to make sure there were no resin spills.

The ‘base’ of the enclosure is actually sitting above the floor of the wheel well. I created the below cardboard panel to sit just below the outer edge of the subframe. It was trial and error to achieve the correct contour. I created by using two sections which made it simpler to make mistakes and try again.

The fibreglassing process requires patience and a bit of planning. I used about 75% of a 1kg kit from Bunnings to make the initial layers of fibreglass. I chopped the 1m square mat into strips and a few little squares.

The enclosure cured in the car overnight. A word of warning, this will make the car I then removed the cured enclosure from the car and added an additional layer. I bought some fibreglass matting in bulk from eBay and used an additional 500ml of resin. This added an additional couple of layers to the inside and I caught any areas I missed with the initial layers.

Trimmed fibreglass enclosure, before the second layer.

The next step was creating a mounting baffle for the sub. There are two approaches to this. The first approach involves stretching fabric over a ring that is securely but minimally mounted to the fibreglass enclosure and then using resin and more fibreglass to solidify the fabric. I took the second approach which is create a simple MDF baffle and fibreglass the interior edge to the existing fibreglass enclosure.

MDF baffle fibreglassed into place. You can see the additional layers of fibreglass used in this shot.

There was a process of sanding down the edges and smoothing the baffle so as to fit snuggly but also so the enclosure could be removed relatively easily. The trickiest section was getting the curving top edge right. This basically involved sanding and then test fitting until I was happy. The initial dimensions were slightly too big and it made removal quite difficult. Some gradual sanding reduce the dimensions along the curved edge and made it less difficult (albeit not easy) to remove.

The subwoofer speaker wire enters the bottom via a ‘Large Round Push Connector Speaker Terminal’.

Mostly finished fibreglass Tesla Model S subwoofer enclosure.

Second last step involved pillaging an old pillow and lined the interior of the enclosure to further increase the virtual size. The final step involved carpeting the baffle to match the black carpet of the hatch/trunk.

The subwoofer is a shallow-mount Infinity REF1200S 12in. It is 4 or 2 ohm selectable. It provides plenty of volume. So much so I had to use the last strips of the Dynamat to deaden the hatch trim and panels because they were vibrating too much.

The amplifier mount sits in the boot sub-floor and is designed to secure the amp and tidy up the cabling. Photos to come.

Tesla Model S Audio Door Speakers and Sound Deadening

The first step in the gradual process of overhauling the audio system in my Model S involved new cabin speakers and sound deadening the doors. (Here is the project page for the audio installation with an outline of the overall project.)

For starters I did some solid internet searching and followed the instructions in these videos for removal of door trim to install door speakers (overall system, front doors and rear doors). Before installing installed sound-deadening in doors and the boot, so I investigated various ‘how to’ videos (like this one).

I used the Dynamat 10435 Xtreme Door Kit to deaden the inner skin and inner side of the outer skin of both front doors. This got rid of a minor vibration in the right hand side door (driver’s side in Australia).

Front right door with Dynamat (and new speaker) installed.

To install the actual speakers, I used the frame of the factory speakers to house the new drivers. This involved cutting out the existing driver. Below is the original Tesla speaker. This is the side that mounts to the door and you can see the various extensions (two on right hand side) and lip (one on left hand side) used to orientate the speaker frame to the door. All door speakers in the Model S with standard audio are the same.

Rear of original Tesla speaker.

Various reports on the TMC forums suggest using the original speakers as mounting frame. Before I went down this path I experimented with making mounting baffles, or using cheap plastic ones, but they were going to be too much work and not get the right (factory) alignment.

Experiments in mounting baffles.

Instead, I cut out the driver and used to mount the new speakers. I’ve included these detailed photos as there was no reply about photos in the TMC post linked above. I tested on the rear door first. The rationale being if it didn’t work then there would be no great loss of directionality and I could use a simple wooden baffle if need be.

Removed factory Tesla driver, snipped the wiring to the original voice coil.

The first time I tried this I left some material (foam from the speaker surround) around the plastic frame. I realised it would be better to scrape all of this out and mount the speaker securely. This created a new problem, where the actual speaker fit in the Tesla ‘frames’ securely except for the screw hole mounting tabs.

The simplest solution was to cut out notches in the factory Tesla speaker frames.


…complete. The above image shows how snuggly the Infinity Kappa speakers fit in the original Tesla speaker brackets if done carefully. Hopefully you can also see there is enough play in the slightly slotted Kappa’s screw hole tabs for a screw to fit in the inner edge.

Speaker wired into original Tesla plug.

Last step involved wiring the new Infinity Kappa 60.11cs speakers into the original Tesla plug so the factory wiring could be used between the door and the kick panel. I fitted foam surrounds around each speaker to seal them with the door trim (you can see this above).

Front speakers are the Infinity Kappa 60.11CS. Rear door speakers are JBL 6520 club series coaxials. Both were chosen for the low 2 ohm impedance to replace the factory Tesla 2 ohm speakers and work efficiently with the factory MCU amplifier.

Tesla Model S Audio Installation

This is the first post in documenting the audio project for my Tesla Model S. The project has proceeded through various phases as I have found the time to complete them.

The vehicle was fitted with standard sound (no second amplifier or factory sub) and came with an all-in-one powered subwoofer from the previous owner. This had OK sound quality but had poor volume while on the road. I wanted good quality sound and enough volume to really kick. So I designed a system around good sound quality and volume and a graduated installation when I had time. (This process has also been interrupted by the news of Tesla offering a service to upgrade MCU 1 vehicles with the latter model and better designed MCU 2, as I don’t want to have to remove components that are time intensive to install or add to the costs.)

The system design takes into account all available information I could find about Tesla audio installations. This includes useful videos on installation of door speakers (overall system, front doors and rear doors) and amplifier installation. Another useful Tesla-specific video includes how to access the 12 volt battery. For this project I also planned and installed sound-deadening in doors and the boot, so I investigated various ‘how to’ videos about that (like this one). The project was designed to proceed in at least three phases. The titles below link to subsequent detailed posts:

Sound deadening and speaker install.

Phase 1: Door Speakers and Sound Deadening, Sub and Amplifier replacement

Dismantled each door, removed the trim and factory sound proofing. Front doors were sound deadened with the Dynamat 10435 Xtreme Door Kit. Front speakers are the Infinity Kappa 60.11CS. Rear door speakers are JBL 6520 club series coaxials. Original Tesla drivers were cut out from their frames and used to mount the new speakers assemblies.This took a bit of courage for the first speaker, but it works extremely well. (Familiarity with the door dismantling procedure came in handy when I replaced one of the handles.)

A small MDF-based enclosure was built to house the shallow-mount Infinity REF1200S 12in sub. I used the existing power and speaker-level input wiring from the previous sub installation to install a Pioneer GM-D9705 5-channel amplifier. Currently only the subwoofer channel is utilised.

Fibreglass subwoofer enclsoure.

Phase 2: Amp Mount and Fibreglass Sub Enclosure

I built a new enclosure for the sub in the rear left area. It is similar to the enclosure as a part of the NVX Model S kit or the interesting Audio Design stacked-wood enclosure. But neither of these are readily available in Australia. Even though I have built dozens of MDF subwoofer enclosures over the years I had only used resin once and that was to make some door pods (fabric over rings mounted to a shaped board) this was the first time making a fibreglass enclosure in a vehicle.

The amplifier mount sits in the boot sub-floor and is designed to secure the amp and tidy up the cabling.

Phase 3: DSP and 5-channel amplification

As a part of the overall design of the system I planned on some kind of sound processing. If mono-block amplifiers were cheaper then I would have gone with the same Pioneer DEQ-S1000A universal sound processor and a mono-block amplifier as the DEQ-S1000A has a small but efficient built-in amplifier. But that didn’t make much sense when the 5 channel amp was only slightly more expensive. The goal is to used the GM-D9705 for amplification and the DEQ-S1000A for sound processing. This plan has been waylaid by Tesla’s announcement about MCU 2.0. It likely shouldn’t effect the MCU 2.0 swap but I don’t want to add unnecessary costs.

The first two phases click through to additional posts with detail and photos of the installation.

A Year of Activity, Part 1

My New Year’s resolution for 2018 was to do a piece of trackable activity everyday. I normally don’t go for such resolutions but having had serious injuries in the previous two years and with my fitness declining and my weight ballooning out to the heaviest I’ve ever been meant I had to take action. I will write a series of posts reflecting on this experience, most likely over the holiday break when I have more time.

It was worth a post today however as November 30, 2017, was when I weighed myself and I was shocked to see I weighed 134kg. So using body mass as a crude measure, a year later where am I? 117.5kg.

The below graph is an edited version of the one available via MyFitnessPal (Android app). It is possible to see how the different periods of the year impact my weight. I’ve highlighted two periods.

The big decline in the first half the year was managed by gradually increasing my activity levels. I began by commuting on our e-bike and gradually stepped up the daily activity. I was sensible and did not try to do too much at once. I compared the rate of weight loss to the level of activity in previous years to get a better sense of what was sustainable.

The red box is when I had a week of conferences in New Zealand followed by a month of sickness in my household.  Plus, it is in the depths of Canberra’s winter. This is when doing exercise was hard and I managed to do at least 20 minutes on the stationary bike everyday.

The green box largely coincides with second semester (at university where I work). Work was extremely busy this semester, more so than last year when I went for promotion!

For Q3, I worked towards riding in Fitz’s Challenge (tough 105km sportive), which was at the end of October. Since the end of October I’ve stepped up the intensity again. I’ve started erging again (indoor rowing, on the Concept 2) almost every morning as well as commuting and tracking everything I eat through MyFitnessPal. When I hurt my back in 2014, it was from doing too much on the ergt, so I wanted to wait until I had completed Fitz’s. In November, I’ve working on around losing 1-1.5kg per week. Doing exercises and playing sports, like doing golf indoors, helped a ton for that fitness goal.

My first goal is 109kg. ([cough] The maximum weight for the carbon wheels I want [cough].) I’d like to get there my Big Canberra Bike Ride in March. My ultimate goal is sub-100kg, so I have at last another few months of work to go. My 2019 New Year’s resolution is primarily erg-related and aiming to do a marathon distance and a sub-6:30 2km, while doing a piece of trackable activity each day.

I’m going to delve into my Strava data at the end of the year in part 2 of this post.

The meta-organisational capacity of lures

Sianne Ngai’s concept of minor aesthetic categories was developed to think about “aesthetic experiences grounded in equivocal affects”. I worked to think through the concept of ‘meta’ as it circulates in popular culture as a similar minor aesthetic category. Like Ngai’s three examples — the cute, the zany, and the interesting — ‘meta’ is characterised by an inherent affective contradiction of both embracing facts or information as providing answers while at the same time multiplying the conditions of possibility for asking questions. ‘Meta’ does not describe objects or qualities of objects, but the distinct modalities of aesthetic engagement with para-texts and relations of engagement themselves. At stake is the logistics of culture and the circulation of discourse.

The cultural industry has fully embraced this mode of participation. Their role is to facilitate the production of centers of fixation or ‘lures’ around which fans organise. Of critical importance here is the excess of information or content, as David Turner argues in a piece on the transformation of music fandom, “With a surplus of music available, the “community” itself, or rather the sense of oneself as participant, is increasingly the point”.

The market effects of the blockbuster can be repeated, but only via the orchestration of fans from the bottom up. Saturation marketing does not work. Manipulating hype cycles without substantial pay off in the form of participatory listening also does not work. Repeating the distinction in Bennet and Segerberg’s work between collective and connective action, there is meta-detective work operating on a connective level, rather than collective level. To return to Turner:

The connection that fans in decades past built through purchasing music is now better observed through YouTube or even Instagram comments — fan engagement is connected to how much time one is willing to spend hunting for leaks or standing in line for a pop-up shop. The ideal fan doesn’t pay for a singular release, but instead spreads memes and creates enough online noise to keep their favorite artist trending: Recently the indie rock artist Mitski reposted memes in the run-up to her latest album, Be The Cowboy, to Instagram; fans returned the favor, throwing the hashtag #BeTheCowboy across social media. As the industry has monetized fan dynamics, moving toward participation as product, the perceived value of music has changed: it’s less about the artist, or even the artist’s relationship to their fans, than “engagement” itself.